Guan Eng: You’re either with us or against us

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GEORGE TOWN: As Pakatan Rakyat licks its wounds from discord over the Selangor menteri besar (MB) saga, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has bluntly told PAS members who are against the pact — show yourselves, and do not play a “double game”.

Guan Eng, who is Penang chief minister, is also being tested in his state government as Penang PAS tries to mend ties with his administration over criticism by one of its vocal councillors.

He said there must be clarity about the stance of those PAS members who were against cooperation with Pakatan, so that the rest of the Pakatan coalition would know who to work with in its fight against Barisan Nasional (BN).

“There are those in PAS who want to unite together with Pakatan. There are those who don’t,” Guan Eng told The Malaysian Insider.

“We can only work with those who want to unite with Pakatan,” he said in an interview at his office in George Town. I think we have to have this clarity. They’ve got to be very clear where they stand.”

Guan Eng said that there were PAS leaders who supported working with Pakatan to win federal power.

But recent events like the Selangor MB impasse and the PAS muktamar (annual general assembly) last month also revealed a segment of PAS leaders and members who questioned if political cooperation or “tahaluf siyasi”, was worth the compromise of its Islamic ideals.

Guan Eng called for clarity in allegiance to Pakatan when asked if the opposition could move forward following the discord between the PAS leadership and DAP and PKR over the choice of Selangor MB.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had broken ranks with DAP and PKR, rejecting PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the MB’s post. And at the recent PAS general assembly in Johor, certain leaders and delegates also expressed dissatisfaction with PKR and DAP, with some voicing the possibility of reviewing ties in the coalition. Other leaders, who spoke in support of cooperation with Pakatan, were booed and jeered.

PAS itself has also long wrestled with the idea of siding with Umno, the lead party in the BN federal government. “Unity talks” between PAS and Umno have cropped up now and then in the Islamist party.

Guan Eng said that those who wanted to work with “other outside forces” had the right to do so. “But don’t play a double game,” he said.

“You want to work with Umno, you go and work with Umno. You want to work with Pakatan, you come out and show your sincerity you are working with Pakatan”

He said the alternative to a strong Pakatan was a BN government that would continue to dominate. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 9, 2014.